Republican National Committee Chair Michael Steele is coming under fire for telling Sean Hannity that the GOP might not be ready to lead America again, even if they retake the House of Representatives in 2010:
HANNITY: Do you think you can take over the House? Do you think Republicans…
STEELE: Not this year. And Sean, I would say honestly.
HANNITY: You don’t think so?
STEELE: Well, I don’t know yet, because all the candidates we still have vacancies that need to get filled. But then the question we need to ask ourselves is, if we do that, are we ready?
HANNITY: Are you?
STEELE: Are we…
HANNITY: Answer your own question. Are we — do you think they’re ready?
STEELE: I don’t know. And that’s what I’m assessing and evaluating right now. Those candidates that are looking to run have to be — have to be anchored in these principles. They have to be — they have to understand…
HANNITY: I’m agreeing with what you’re saying. I think…
STEELE: They have to understand these steps, because if they don’t, then they’ll get to Washington, and they’ll start drinking that Potomac River water.
Oddly enough, the Democrat National Committee seemed pleased with Steele’s comments for some reason—DNC spokesman Hari Sevugan says, “Admitting that Republicans aren’t ready to lead is the most honest thing Michael Steele has said in his life.”
Today, Steele told Chris Matthews he really meant he’s simply waiting to see who the candidates will be, and he thinks the GOP can win this year after all. Unfortunately, his first answers pretty clearly contradict his damage control efforts:
We need to talk honestly about the mistakes made by the Republican Party and the state of the conservative movement. But clumsy rhetoric from the man whose sole job is getting Republicans elected serves no better purpose than giving Democrats handy talking points, and transparent attempts to spin such blunders away just make Republicans look phony (unfortunately, this sort of thing is familiar territory for Steele).
Disaffected conservatives looking for strong, reliable leadership had best keep looking.